Priestly Meeting Shows "Beauty" of Celibacy
Cardinal Bertone Addresses Priests From 70 Countries
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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- There is a beautiful aspect of celibacy that underlines a priest's dedication to serve each and every person as a brother or sister in Christ, says Benedict XVI's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
The cardinal spoke about the priesthood and celibacy this afternoon at the "Priests Today" conference, held at Paul VI Hall in the Vatican. The Congregation for Clergy sponsored the three-hour event, in cooperation with the Focolare Movement, the Schoenstatt Movement and the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
Priests "are essentially brothers among brothers, in whom they recognize the face of Christ. Brothers of every person, of men and women, whom they must love and serve with total selflessness, without any attachment, without seeking their own interest," explained Cardinal Bertone.
"Thus is understood the present importance and beauty of celibacy. And in you this beauty radiates that unconditional love which has always been extremely valued by the Church, as sign and stimulus of charity and as special source of fruitfulness in the world," he added.
The Church and humanity, the cardinal stated, "are in need of priests of this mettle, of authentic 'prophets of a new world,' that world that began with the coming of Christ, which is in continuous becoming, in continuous formation."
"At this time," Cardinal Bertone lamented, "we have had to bear the sorrow of infidelity, on occasions grave, of some members of the clergy, who have had an extremely negative influence on the credibility of the Church."
For this reason, he recalled, when Benedict XVI spoke with journalists on the flight to Portugal, he referred to "a 'persecution' that is born within the Church herself."
"From this sorrow arises a providential awareness," added cardinal Bertone quoting Benedict XVI's Pastoral Letter to Catholics of Ireland. "It is necessary to live 'a period of rebirth and spiritual renewal,' to follow 'with courage the path of conversion, purification and reconciliation,' 'to find new ways to transmit to young people the beauty and richness of friendship with Jesus Christ in the communion of his Church.'"
Thousands of priests from 70 countries took part in the half-day event that marked the beginning of the closing ceremonies of the Year for Priests, which ends Friday.